Books: Blues in the New South

THE SECOND COMING by Walker Percy; Farrar, Straus & Giroux; $12.95

The perception that the world gets crazier every day is not particularly new. It may not even be true. But the diverse people who hold this view have one thing in common: a good deal of spare time in which to muse. Novelist Walker Percy, 64, has made such free-floating contemplatives his trademark. From The Moviegoer (1961) on, his heroes have been thinking animals, unencumbered by the routines and demands of daily life. They are either feckless or rich.

The hero of The Second Coming, Percy's fifth novel, is emphatically both. Will...

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